Nonprofit Leaders Say Evening Galas Are Here To Stay

February 8, 2016

Despite Changing Tastes and New Ways to Reaching Supporters, Most Nonprofits Say Galas are Indispensable Fundraising Staples, According to Marks Paneth Survey

(NEW YORK, NY-- Feb. 8, 2016)- As final fundraising numbers from the fall 2015 nonprofit gala season are tallied, many organizations will be thinking about the value of these events. Chances are they will be saying “yes” to keeping the gala tradition going.

Most nonprofit leaders – 52% – say galas are productive events, according to the findings of the most recent Nonprofit Pulse, a national survey of 114 nonprofit executives by accounting firm Marks Paneth. A quarter of the respondents say galas are productive for fundraising, and 27% say they’re productive for both fundraising and increasing donor engagement.

Only one in 10 nonprofit leaders say they’re questioning the value of galas.

“Clearly, most people like a party – and like to give and connect in that environment,” says Michael McNee, CPA, Partner-in-Charge of the Nonprofit and Government Group at Marks Paneth. “Galas are a tradition that the digital age hasn’t eroded. Maybe online buzz even supports it.”

Survey respondents included Board Chairs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Treasurers, Chief Operating Officers, Development Directors, Vice Presidents and Board members of nonprofits with annual budgets between $10 million and $200 million. The survey was fielded from late July through September 2015.

Most leaders (74%) indicated that their organizations do in fact hold galas, and only 12% say informal events or breakfasts are more productive than formal evening events.

Despite the momentum behind galas, there appears to be less steam behind cultivating the next generation of donors. But that could be changing. Only 21% of leaders say their organization has a “junior committee” of young professionals – yet 27% say they plan to form such groups.

To receive a copy of the Nonprofit Pulse and/or to speak with a leader from Marks Paneth’s Nonprofit and Government Group, please contact John McKenna of ICR LLC at 203.682.8252 or


The Nonprofit Pulse: A Leadership Study from Marks Paneth represents the findings of a survey of nonprofit leaders in the United States. The 114 nonprofit sector leaders participating in the research include Board Chairs, Presidents, Executive Directors, Chief Executive Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Treasurers, Chief and are with organizations with annual budgets between $10 million and $200 million. 

The research employed self-administered questionnaires completed online by respondents. The national list of professionals surveyed was compiled by Marks Paneth LLP, the research sponsor, and by Michaels Opinion Research.  Interviews were completed during the period of July 21 to September 15, 2015.

About Marks Paneth

Marks Paneth LLP is an accounting firm with more than 600 people, including over 80 partners and principals. The firm provides public and private businesses with a full range of auditing, accounting, tax, consulting, trade remediation and valuation services as well as litigation and financial advisory services to domestic and international clients. The firm also specializes in providing tax advisory and consulting for high-net-worth individuals and their families, as well as a wide range of services for international, real estate, hospitality, media, entertainment, nonprofit and government services clients.  The firm has a strong track record supporting emerging growth companies, entrepreneurs, business owners and investors as they navigate the business life cycle.

The firm's subsidiary, Tailored Technologies, LLC, provides information technology consulting services. In addition, its membership in Morison International, a leading international association for independent business advisers, financial consulting and accounting firms, facilitates service delivery to clients throughout the United States and around the world. Marks Paneth, whose origins date back to 1907, is the 35th largest accounting firm in the nation and the 9th largest in the mid-Atlantic region. In addition, readers of the New York Law Journal rank Marks Paneth as one of the area's top three forensic accounting firms for the sixth year in a row.

Its headquarters are in New York City. Additional offices are in Washington, DC, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester. For more information, please visit

Nonprofit Leaders Say Evening Galas Are Here To Stay

SUCCESS IS PERSONAL Click here to learn more about our brand